Updated: Mar 13, 2019
Cotton Lawn vs. Cotton Voile vs. Cotton Batiste
Batiste, pronounced, BUH-TEEST, is a very soft, lightweight semi-opaque fabric that is woven in a plain weave. It is most commonly made from 100% cotton or a cotton/polyester blend, but historically was made of linen. This semi-sheer fabric is named after 13th century French linen weaver, Jean Baptiste. Batiste fabrics are often used for window treatments creating a light and airy atmosphere while providing a touch of privacy.
Cotton lawn is a fine shirting fabric made of combed threads for a super smooth finish with a crisp hand. It is not as smooth as voile, and is lighter and less structured than poplin. Usually opaque, this lighter weight shirting can be used for button-downs, blouses, and all kinds of lined dresses and skirts. It is beautiful and soft when used for baby wear.
Sewing Tips for Lawn: Use a fine sewing machine needle. If your fabric puckers, try lowering your tension. The ideal seam finishing technique to use is a French seam. You can also use sharp pinking shears. To hem, use a rolled hem either by hand or machine.
Pronounced (VOY-AL), this super smooth fabric is a treat to work with. It is very similar to batiste, with a super silky and smooth hand. It’s usually semi-sheer, so a lining is recommended. It’s also got a bit of a crisp hand, so it doesn’t drape quite as well as batiste tends to. Voile is usually made of cotton, but it can also be found in rayon, silk, and silk/cotton blends. Voile is also a lovely breathable fabric that is perfect for baby wear, spring and summer dresses and blouses. Plain cotton voile works beautifully for a dress lining or summer pyjamas. It is soft and cool to wear.
Sewing Tips for Voile: Use a fine and sharp needle. Finish seams with sharp pinking shears, rayon seam binding, French seams, or serging. Narrow hems or rolled hems are best. You can finish necklines and armholes with a bias facing for a low-profile finishing technique.